<
>

Jerry Jones wants to help Johnny Manziel before signing him

"The overwhelming response and the overwhelming mentality is for him, if we're involved in any way, to help and encourage him to get it together," Jerry Jones said of Johnny Manziel. EPA, USA TODAY Sports

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Before Jerry Jones considers signing Johnny Manziel to play quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, he wants the former Heisman Trophy winner to get his life turned around.

"The overwhelming response and the overwhelming mentality is for him, if we're involved in any way, to help and encourage him to get it together, to get his issue improved because those issues, in my mind, not talent, are why he is free today," Jones said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. "It's those issues, and those issues are the overriding consideration here, and how and what basis that those can be dealt with and addressed."

After a troubling rookie season, Manziel spent 10 weeks in rehab. In 2015, he spent the final week of the season in Vegas and missed a medical test for a concussion. A Dallas grand jury is now deciding whether Manziel should be charged for allegedly abusing his ex-girlfriend.

Jones said he has not spoken to Manziel since the Cleveland Browns released the QB. Jones also has not spoken to Manziel's new agent, Drew Rosenhaus. According to sources, at a personnel meeting at the end of the 2015 season, Manziel's name was mentioned as a possible quarterback candidate, and the thought was rejected.

Jones looked to draft Manziel in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, but he stuck with his scouting department, and the Cowboys took Zack Martin. Jones, however, has lamented missing out on Manziel on numerous occasions, even as the quarterback struggled in Cleveland.

Jones spoke deliberately when addressing Manziel. In the past, Jones has helped players who had off-the-field troubles. Josh Brent worked in a warehouse during his suspension from the NFL and last year worked in the team's scouting department after he retired from football.

"I would in any way offer to help him work to be where we all are rooting for him to be, which is having a successful life and football career," Jones said. "I would do that. You say, 'Well, is that because of football?' Well, I might not have been aware of this, had it not been for football. I'm aware of it.

"With that, with me, comes a motivation, if it's appropriate within the rules or within the guidelines of the NFL, if we can be of help in the promise of being a part of the NFL through the Cowboys, I certainly look to that. But … I don't even dare, right now, go into picturing him in a training camp or an OTA or him in a ballgame. You don't go there."